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4 Simple Ways To Cultivate Self-Discipline In Your Children

The best sort of discipline is self-discipline.

The goal for most parents is to raise children who are not only happy and productive, but self-disciplined. Self-disciplined children decide for themselves the best course of action for bringing about a desired outcome. Self-disciplined children are guided by internal motivations rather than external. While it might be tempting to coerce your child into behaving appropriately, there are four steps you can take towards cultivating self-discipline in your young one. 

1. Be A Role Model

Before you ask your child to be a model citizen, you must first demand that of yourself. You are a living example for your children, and if self-discipline is important enough for them to master, it should be a character trait they witness, not simply hear about. The family resemblance should extend beyond physical appearances and include successful habits, too.

2. Create An Environment Where Consequences Matter

Provide an environment where children are allowed to make mistakes, wherein each error in judgment is met with immediate natural consequences. This will build a self-awareness that is intrinsically motivated. Make a mess, then clean it up. Break something and fix it. Cause pain, but always play a role in the healing process. If you fall down, pick yourself up. We must allow our children to experience the consequences that follow from their decisions.

3. Practice

Discipline comes from repetition. Provide your child the opportunity to contribute to your family in meaningful ways. In the process, they'll learn about responsibility and proficiency. Reach past the traditional list of chores and introduce tasks that will help the household while preparing them for adulthood. They can help put together grocery lists or feed family pets, just as long as they are contributors.

4. Be A Parent, Not A Friend.

Don't babysit your sons and daughters, raise them. Parenthood is not the time to be the easygoing friend you'd always wanted. Put your foot down, set boundaries and stick to them. Keep your word. Don't make empty threats or promises; this will threaten the trust between you and your child. Laugh, smile, and goof off when the moment allows, but don’t forget – you have a job to do.

Raising a self-disciplined child is hard work. There will be plenty of resistance. There will be times that seem easier than others, and moments when it seems best to just mail it in; fight through it and remember the endgame. Your ultimate goal is to raise the best young adult you can, and any resistance can be met with four simple words: Because I love you.

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